Chapter 1: The Life of Jake Trott

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 384

 

Chapter 1

Jake Trott kicked the double glass door open before it did it automatically as it was supposed to. Anger, for him, tended to eradicate any sense of rationality or how best to conduct oneself in a public setting. This occasion was no exception as he briskly walked away from the double doors of Webbing Ltd’s. corporate executive offices, leaving it annoyingly inanimate and present behind him. The damn thing would be in the rear view mirror of his taxi for at least the next three blocks. He couldn’t believe the way his life was turning and felt like a bullying victim of providence as each step after the next seemed to walk him into another unfortunate situation. Said unfortunate situation prior to this one was only a small inconvenience and it happens all the time. Or so he kept insisting to himself with a shaky rationality that left him in denial. Just fifty two hours, twenty minutes and thirty nine seconds prior to the moment the sole of his expensive shoes made contact with the glass doors of his now ex and hated job, his wife also became his ex. He had learned, after about one hour of verbal jousting, that his wife of eleven years, Tara, had been seeing his best friend of fifteen years, Jeremy, for nearly a year in secret behind his back. As if Trott’s situation wasn’t bad enough, he had originally met Tara at Webbing Ltd. when they were both fairly junior in rank. She had ascended the ladder of authority higher than he as, well, she was just better at the job. He did wonder why he was allocated different hours of work.

Traffic was very congested outside and Jake could still see Webbing Ltd. behind him, shrinking off into the distance far too slowly for his liking, as it stubbornly summoned memories of the past two awkward days in a work environment with his ex-wife professionally and formally asking him to do things. He thought of the silver lining. At least now he could get away from her and move on. Not just yet, actually, as, although he was bitterly insisting in his mind that she was indeed his ex wife, no papers had been officially signed as yet. This particular taxi was taking him, not to the small off licence, as it did most days for Jake to pick up some tobacco and energy drink to keep him going for the last few hours of day, but to the solicitor’s so that he could get those papers. After a marriage of eleven years and a relationship of even longer, the end of such things made losing his job seem like an infinitesimal speck of inconvenience and, now in irrational thought, his higher priority was to dish out some kind of justice against his no longer best friend.

Passing reflections rolled past Jake’s face on the other side of the window pane as he leant up against it, elbow on its base, watching London pass on by. It had been two days and for the first time Jake was enshrouded in a moment of clarity and calm. Funny, how enclosed, quiet spaces and anti-social foreign taxi drivers can have that effect. He realised that he was now single. The tempest in his mind had cleared for but a moment and he had been enveloped in a shroud. It was a slightly exciting shroud that said ‘You’re a free man, Jacob Trott. You have nobody else’s time but your own’. And, indeed he did. He didn’t have many friends, all his family had passed away and was always an only child. There was certainly no woman in his life anymore. No woman for whom he had to slice the pork or talk about future plans. No woman with whom to do the monthly budget or constantly focus on how to ‘keep the spark alive’. So it was there and then, when the taxi pulled in over a particularly grotty gutter, that Jake cracked a smile. The Asian driver said a few words that resembled the numbers on the dashboard and Jake presumed he simply spoke out the charge for the ride. Saying nothing, Jake gave the driver an amply sized wad of cash, still overly emotional not to care about the change and walked away from the taxi ignoring the driver attempting to give it to him. Jake had decided that tonight, was going to be special and he was most certainly going to have some fun.

*

The door to flat 168 in Clarkson House was situated on the fiftieth floor of a tower block – like building not too dissimilar from the one he had just returned from. It would swing open and shut at eight am every week morning, as its occupant often had a coat in one hand, a cigarette in the other and a bagel in his mouth. Then again at six pm in the evening as its inhabitant would slowly trudge up to it, key in hand, eyelids drooping whilst thinking how those energy drinks are a waste of money. Jake could now approach this door as both a single and a jobless man and as dangerous a situation this was for him financially, he couldn’t help but feel a sense of liberation as he slid the key into its brass lock housing, opening the door once again to be swept by a waft of an admittedly strong air freshener smell. That damn cleaning lady always uses too much, warned the concierge downstairs, as Jake was arranging a new flat to stay in not two days ago. The man wasn’t joking. Jake spluttered for a moment and sat down on his sofa closing his eyes, leaning back as he did so. He gathered his thoughts for a moment. He opened his eyes and saw the blank white sky of the paint on the ceiling above him and this little one or two minute ritual, he thought, was what kept him in order and what kept him sane. It had now been sixty hours, thirteen minutes and forty seconds since he received the bad news, said the clock on the wall. He had to stop doing that.

By the time it had been sixty hours, forty minutes and thirty seconds, Jake Trott had showered and put on some nice clothes. He had no idea what kind of plan he would put into action if a woman approached him and then something had occurred to him yet again. When everything was fine and in order, back when he would go on nights out with groups of people he didn’t like or even just his wife, it would always be the same. Go to a bar, dance, socialise etc etc... and he found it so monotonous and worst of all; predictable. Before he had even set out into the corridor, he thought to himself exactly how tonight’s series of events would unfold and he knew, annoyingly without a doubt that they would unfold exactly as in his mind’s eye. It was like watching a film for the first time and knowing exactly what was going to happen. He couldn’t stand it anymore. Everything was just so predictable. Jobless meant that he had to get out and find a job. It would probably just be in another office at a computer. Outside a relationship. He and her would probably be madly in love for just long enough for it really hurt when she decided to break up with him. He knew, or at least he thought he did, absolutely everything that was going to happen. So in one swift decision he had come to a decision on what to do with his night. He was almost positive that it would be anything but predictable.

Stepping towards the door, he stopped and turned around, looking at the oven for a good minute or two. Anybody would think he was mad, staring so intently at his oven. But it was only he, right there and then, who was privy to the thoughts in his mind. Those thoughts were telling him that he should leave the gas on or something. Hopefully some spark somewhere would destroy the place. He prayed for some kind of disaster to crash into his life, changing it drastically. He hated his immediate life, not to the extent where he wanted to kill himself, but just enough for some horrible circumstance to come barrelling in, giving him drive and purpose. He’d got the oven idea from some fighting film he had watched and he started to feel like he was turning into the main character. It had now been exactly sixty one hours. Time to stop dilly dallying and get on with this. He left the oven for the time being and set out his flat door, swinging his black leather jacket over his Moss.Bross striped shirt as he walked towards the elevator. Very soon he wouldn’t be able to get clothes from a charity shop. The thought didn’t frighten him. It just made him appreciate the moment and what he still had.


Submitted: July 07, 2012

© Copyright 2022 Nick Banks. All rights reserved.

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